Clearwire launches pay-as-you-go 4G

The company is offering a 4G mobile hotspot for access to its WiMAX network without a contract.

Clearwire is now offering a 4G mobile hotspot that can give users access to its WiMAX network without signing a contract.

4G essentials

Clearwire's Rover service will be available in all of the company's 49 commercial markets in the United States and will give users the ability to buy access to its 4G network on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. A daily pass for Rover costs $5, a weekly pass costs $20 and a monthly pass costs $50, Clearwire says.

Users can connect to the Clearwire network using one of two devices: the Rover Puck that acts as a 4G mobile hotspot and can provide connectivity to Wi-Fi for up to eight different devices; and the Rover Stick that acts as a personal WiMAX USB modem to connect an individual device to the WiMAX network.

The Rover Puck is similar to the Mi-Fi WiMAX router already offered by Sprint that takes incoming EV-DO and WiMAX traffic and then sends it out through Wi-Fi to other devices.

Clearwire's WiMAX network is currently the fastest wireless network in the United States, with initial tests registering average data speeds between 2.5M and 4Mbps. The WiMAX network is likely to remain the fastest in the country until at least next year when Verizon launches its 4G LTE services.

Clearwire projects that by year-end it will have built out a WiMAX network that spans all major U.S. markets and covers 120 million POPs. The company's plan is to build out the network and then wholesale access to companies with bigger brand names such as Sprint, Comcast and Time-Warner Cable. Clearwire is counting on these companies to aggressively promote its WiMAX services, especially since WiMAX is the fastest wireless technology available on the market. Clearwire's wholesale partners have also played a big role in funding the buildout of the network, as Clearwire raised $3.2 billion from its big cable partners as well as from big-name tech companies such as Google and Intel.

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